Mary’s wedding

A Closer Look

Mary Whipple wrote a letter describing her wedding when she and George Whipple married. She wrote the letter to her sister from Faribault on August 27, 1861. In the letter, she calls her new husband "Blue Beard" (the name of a pirate), probably because he had sailed to and lived in Hawaii before they married.

“My dearest little sister,

If it had not been for my “Blue Beard’, of whom you must believe I stand in the greatest awe, a letter would have been completed for you some time since… Charlie is just saying to his mamma ‘Is auntie married? Was Mr. Whipple married with Auntie? Did she stand up with the Bishop and say prayers?’ And that leads me to the important topic about which I shall discourse to you — My marriage.

Funny, isn’t it? I had hoped to have been able to write you announcing the day, but I did not know it in time myself. I wished to wait a week longer, but began by yielding — you see my future…. Well as you may imagine, I was in quite a fuss, but settled down and was taking it quite coolly… Monday night [the Bishop] came, [and] about 12 o’clock the same night it was decided that the wedding should take place at 7 1/2 o’clock Thursday morn… in the school house chapel (which on the occasion was profusely trimmed with wreathes and arches and bouquets of flowers). I had two bridesmaids, Misses Lizzie and Nellie Whipple, both tall, handsome girls, quite overshadowing the bride. The groomsmen were candidates in George’s class.

Wedding couple, ca. 1870-1879. Wedding couple, ca. 1870-1879. Photographer: Z. P. McMiller. Cabinet photograph. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society Photograph Collection .


I wore a white Swiss muslin very long and full with plain broad hem – low neck and short sleeves, neck and sleeve bordered with ruches. Over this I wore a spencer of white silk illusion made with long sleeves puffed at the wrist and a puff of the same around the neck and down the front fastened at the neck with my “hairpin.” The spencer had no frill and was confined at the waist by a broad white ribbon sash. A white illusion veil with a hem trimmed with white silk cord — the work and gift of Lizze W. It was fastened with a wreath of orange flowers and buds… my hair was curled in front. White kid gloves and slippers (black) completed my outer array.

We were quite punctual in getting to Church, but found the house full when we arrived. The bridesmaids and their escorts went in first… then Mr. W. with Mrs. Bishop on his arm, then Dr. B. with me on his arm… I remained leaning on Dr. B.’s arm until the question “who giveth,” etc. when he stepped forward and placed me on the chancel steps… The rite ended… we entered the carriage and came up the hill…. I received the congratulations of friends, changed my dress, went to breakfast — ate cake, drank wine and at 9 o’clock started on the stage for St. Paul.”


Alexander Faribault

Faribault's French House
Fur Trade
Making the Town Grow
Site of the Bluffs
Trading Post

Mary Whipple

Bed Bugs
Divinity Students
Emma and Eva Havens
Emma Willard School
Eva's Death
Hastings to Faribault
Hawaiian Fever
Letter of August 25, 1862
Longed to Travel
Mary's Wedding
Sandwich Islands
Soap to Sausages
Some Clothing
Sound of Bells


Big Woods
Fort Snelling
Saving Others
When it Started

Henry Whipple

Back Home
Bad Teeth
East to School
Gull Lake
Loved to Fish
Six Children
Time of Crisis
Treatment of Indians
Youngest Child

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